June 23, 2017

Fun Friday!

We watched a favourite movie of mine this afternoon as part of our Fun Friday activity.  It's called, "Everyone's Hero" and it's full of positive messages.  I love how this movie encompasses themes we've talked about all year long. It's a great way to end the week and revisit so many of the important touchstones from our year together. 

These include: 
  • don't quit...ever!
  • advocate for yourself
  • sometimes things don't go our way 
  • we all need to be accountable 
  • include others 
  • make our community a better place 
  • no matter how good a person is at sport, skill, or activity, we all need to practice

I also love that this movie references Babe Ruth. We learned a lot about him back in the winter when we read "Swindle" by Gordon Korman.  

Just prior to watching the movie, I gave the kids some remaining resources I had ordered from the Dairy Board to support our review of non-fiction texts. You'll recall the boys and girls are writing their own non-fiction texts in the form of a brochure for a fantasy carnival.  

We had already explored a really great document called "The Plate Mate" a week or so ago as a kind of mentor text, and I was really pleased with how many of the text features and other curriculum expectations we've talked about where right there for the kids to identify in the booklet called "Facts on Snacks". I ended up recording this part of our lesson today and you can watch it below! 

Please also look for your child's Brag Tags, which came home today!  As you can see, everyone has achieved a great many milestones this year!  

June 21, 2017

Mozart and Math Games!

We had such a nice afternoon on Wednesday! First, we closed our eyes, rested our heads and listened to Mozart's Magnificent Voyage.  We learned all about the famous composer by listening to a movie for our minds.  It was brief, but such a nice after lunch activity.

After that, the Mozart music continued and we moved on to different Math games.  It was a great way for everyone to practice their number-sense skills AND play together with a purpose.  It was everything you could hope for in a June afternoon.  

One of our favourite games to play was Farkle! Here's a printable version of the rules and instructions (click here)


June 19, 2017

Directed Drawings!

On Friday, we began a directed drawing self-portrait (I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out how to phrase this. Those four words...still don't think it sounds right). So what's a directed drawing? It's when we give students step-by-step directions about how to draw something. Rather than saying, "ready, set, go!", we break down the steps into smaller, more manageable lines and before you know it, you have a work of art AND you've learned a new skill!  

By teaching children that learning to draw (even digitally) is nothing more than manipulated shapes and lines, we improve their confidence, perseverance and fine motor skills!

Why did we all draw the number 4 on our shirts? Well, it seemed appropriate since that's the grade the gang's headed! 

June 13, 2017

Carnival Time!

Oh my word, what a hit this lesson was! We had so much fun on Tuesday looking at the features of an informational text such as a brochure! We used resources from the Dairy Board of Canada to cover a little bit of everything.  Aside from the obvious discussions about health and nutrition, we also talked about some of the features of the text itself: illustrations, different fonts, coordinated colours, diagrams, interactivity, and bold text. I explained to the boys and girls that these same features apply to websites.  

After this discussion, students learned they would be designing their own brochure for a pretend carnival! They're asked to choose a theme for their carnival and the sky is the limit! For the purpose of my sample, I went with a cheese and lama-themed carnival (no idea where that idea came from, but my website has a nice ring to it: www.cheeseoramalama.com). 

The wheels were turning with this one!  We're going to get back to work on our brochures on Wednesday and I can't wait to see how they turn out!  What a great way to end the school year: a year where there is always so much growth in terms of my students' writing skills.  

In this one exercise, we cover many important skills and answer lots of questions: 
  • What's the purpose of a brochure (and website)?
  • What makes a great brochure and a not-so-great brochure/website? 
  • What kind of information will people want to know about a school carnival from a brochure/website? 
  • How do I engage my reader? 
  • What's an appropriate theme for a carnival? 
  • What are sensible food prices for my menu items?
  • How do bullet points work really effectively on a brochure? 
  • What's an appropriate day/time to hold a carnival? 
  • My carnival's website? What's an appropriate name?
  • Will the website be a .ca or a .com site?
  • Let's talk revenue: who benefits from my carnival? 
  • The beneficiary: why them? 
I've been so thrilled with the quality of my students' writing this year.  Watching them grow with each assignment is so exciting and rewarding.  I hope they'll use all the skills they've learned this year to make this their best writing piece yet! 


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